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Global conservation team visits Odisha's Bhitarkanika park
Nov 21, 2016

Why in News:
A two-member technical evaluation mission team of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), deputed by UNESCO, visited the Bhitarkanika National Park.

Why this Visit:
visit is to perform field assessment of the unique mangrove ecosystem of the park, which figured on the tentative list of future heritage sites of UNESCO in 2009 and made its way to the final list in 2014. The national park presently figures in the listed of protected wetlands under the Ramsar Convention.

About Bhitarkanika

  • It is a national park located in the Kendrapara District Odisha in eastern India.
  • Bhitarkanika is formed from two Odia words ‘Bhitar' meaning interior and 'Kanika' meaning that which is extraordinarily beautiful
  • Housing the dynamic and salt tolerant species of trees, the Mangroves that generally grow in tropical and sub-tropical inter-tidal regions; Bhitarkanika has a luxuriant green, rich and pulsating eco-system. 
  • The national park is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east, and separates swamp region cover with canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.
  • Located in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitarani, in the north-eastern place of Kendrapara district of Odisha (Orissa), the sanctuary covers an area of 672 square kilometers of mangrove forests and wetland. 
  • Apart from the Mangroves, another rarity that the sanctuary has to its account is the inhibition of its ecosystem by the Giant Salt Water Crocodiles and numerous varieties of other animal species. It is because of these specialties only that a vast expanse of forest around 145 square kilometers has been officially declared as the Bhitarkanika National Park. 

The World Heritage Csite:
These sites are places of importance of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is an international agreement that was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972.

Definition of Natural heritage :
For the purposes of the World Heritage Convention, the following are considered as "natural heritage":

  • Natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view;
  • Geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation;
  • Natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.


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